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Even though the birth rate of a batch is very good and the quality of birds is satisfactory, you may always find abnormal embryos in the trays. Sometimes, finding the cause of lower birth rate is difficult since its origin is not always localized in the hatchery.

We will now describe a series of problems relatively frequently found mainly affecting terminal phase embryos and newborn chicks.

This article makes reference to the second part of the article which was published in the previous edition.


Bomb eggs

huevos-bombaPossible cause: Farm Contamination
Corrective measures: Do not incubate dirty eggs, check number of collections and the state of cleanliness of nests

Possible cause: Improper disinfection
Corrective measures:  Check disinfectant dosage and their replacement frequency

Possible cause: Contamination in hatchery

Corrective measures: Check cleaning and disinfection protocols and avoid reusing air

Possible cause:  Eggs with sweat
Corrective measures: Keep eggs at adequate temperature during movement, avoiding temperature fluctuations

Possible cause:  Contamination from broken eggs
Corrective measures:  Prevent its appearance and verify removal of all organic matter before disinfecting


Leg problems

problemas-patasPossible cause: Trays too smooth or having areas wherein legs may get stuck
Corrective measures: Use paper or meshes

Possible cause: High temperature and lack of oxygen
Corrective measures:  Check hatching temperatures since high temperatures may affect bone and cartilaginous development. It also generates lactic acid production because birds use muscle glycogen as energy source (Oviedo-Rondon and Wineland 20012). Calibrate thermometers

Possible cause:  Stress during transportation
Corrective measures: Measure rectal temperature 39.8 – 40.5 ºC


Short beaks, missing beak, face abnormalities

picosPossible cause: High temperature the first hatching days
Corrective measures:  Check embryonic temperature, profiles, calibrate thermometers

Possible cause: Nutritional deficiencies  -niacin-
Corrective measures:  Check diets

Possible cause:  Heredity

Possible cause:  Alterations during development


Exposed brains

cerebrosPossible cause:  Temperatures are too high during the first 3 hatching days
Corrective measures: Check temperature profiles and calibrate thermometers

Possible cause:  Extremely low levels of oxygen during the first 3 hatching days
Corrective measures:  Check ventilation profiles



Red hocks

codosPossible cause: High hatcher humidity. Very large abdominal cavity which makes difficult leaving the shell
Corrective measures: Check moisture loss at transfer and profiles

Possible cause:   Hatcher temperature is too low
Corrective measures:  Check embryo temperature, profiles and calibrate thermometers

Possible cause: Hatcher temperatures are too high

Corrective measures: Lower hatcher temperature

Possible cause:  Vitamin deficiency
Corrective measures: Check diets

Possible cause:  Very thick shell. Young batches
Corrective measures:  Check profile humidity


Hemorrhages, red skin, bleeding in chorioallantois

Possible cause: Bad handling at transfer
Corrective measures: Check times and movements during transfer

Possible cause: Nutritional deficiencies 
Corrective measures:  Check vitamin K and/or vitamin E levels

Possible cause: Contamination by molds and bacteria

Corrective measures: Make bacterial cultures

Possible cause:  Temperatures are too high
Corrective measures: Check embryo temperature

Possible cause:  Heredity


Exposed viscera


Possible cause: Hatcher temperature is too high

Corrective measures: Check profile temperature. Monitor embryonic temperature. Check and calibrate thermometers.

Possible cause:  Heredity


Eye abnormalities (missing eyes)

falta-ojoPossible cause: High temperature during the first hatching week
Corrective measures: Check embryo temperature. Verify thermometers calibration

Possible cause:  Low oxygen level during the first week
Corrective measures:  Check oxygen levels (Chan and Burggren 2005)




Weak chicks

aves-debilesPossible cause: High hatcher temperature
Corrective measures: Check hatcher profiles. Calibrate thermometers

Possible cause:  Poor hatcher ventilation
Corrective measures:  Check ventilation profiles


Possible cause: Excessive fumigation

Corrective measures: Check fumigation protocols.

Corrective measures: Do not hatch dirty eggs. Check egg handling in farms


Sticky chicks, chicks smeared with albumen

albumenPossible cause:  Low incubation temperature
Corrective measures: Check embryo temperature and thermometer calibration

Possible cause: Incubation humidity
Corrective measures:  Check weight loss at transfer and hatching

Possible cause: Improper turning

Corrective measures: Check angle (45°; Elibol and Brake 2006) frequency (at least  24 times, Wilson 1991). First week (Elibol and Brake 2004)

Possible cause:  Improper ventilation or disinfection

Corrective measures:  Check ventilation. Provide 100% fresh air and the correct temperature

Corrective measures:  Old eggs


Chicks stuck in shell, dry chicks, chicks with shell fragments stuck to down feathers

aves-secasPossible cause: Humidity too low during incubation or hatching
Corrective measures: Check moisture loss. Avoid over-ventilation

Possible cause: Improper turning
Corrective measures:  Check turning angle and frequency

Possible cause: Cracked shell or poor shell quality.

Corrective measures: Frequently collect eggs, close nests overnight, check nutritional requirements and pathogen microorganism presence (e.g. bronchitis, Newcastle)


Late Hatching

codosPossible cause: Large eggs or old breeders
Corrective measures: Check incubation profiles and times (Romanoff y Romanoff 1972)

Possible cause:  Eggs stored too long
Corrective measures:  Preheat and/or pre incubate (Fasenko et al. 2001)

Possible cause: Incubator temperature

Corrective measures: Check and/or calibrate thermometers. Measure embryo temperature (low)

Possible cause:  Incubator humidity
Corrective measures: Check if incubator humidity is too high


Excessive early mortality

Possible cause: Improper transport or late feed and hydration. Improper temperature under brooders
Corrective measures: Monitor transport temperature and ventilation. Chicks must have access to feed and drink as soon as possible. Rectal temperature of chicks 39.8 – 40.5 ºC (Molenar 2012)

Possible cause: Microbial diseases or contamination 
Corrective measures:  Check vaccination and biosecurity protocols. Only incubate clean eggs (Mauldin 1999)

Possible cause: Poor state of health in hatchery

Corrective measures: Check disinfection protocols, roofs, conducts and difficult access places

Possible cause:  Inadequate feeding, fungicide contamination or medication problems
Corrective measures:  Check feed safety

Bibliography available on request









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